The Writings On The Stall

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I discovered this little gem of a website recently and found myself engrossed in reading the entries posted. To quote from the website:

“[Writings on bathroom stalls] serve as (informal) forums for politics, pop culture, humor, and so forth. ”

Of course I added one of my favorites that I saw in a men’s room at South High School while I was in 11th grade. It said “Flush twice — it’s a long way to KFC!” I remembered it because I had heard stories about KFC, mostly from Nick Terry who had worked there, about dropping chicken on the floor then putting it in the deep-fryer. I don’t know if that was the general practice or just what Nick did.

There was a KFC just down the block from South High which is now living its life as Little World Chineese. My fondest memory of KFC was in 1988, the year after I graduated from South. At the time I was back from living in Germany for the past year and was enjoying summer vacation. I went to pick up an order for the family and was surprised to see Quincy Commeau (spelling?) working the front counter. I remember she was very friendly and I was speechless and just made kind of bumbleing noises. You see, I had a huge crush on Quincy starting in 7th grade. In my opinion, she was not only gorgeous but really smart and had a great sense of humor. Unfortunately, from what I could tell she dated the same guy all through junior high (Glendale Intermediate — go Griffins!) and into High School. I think she then switched to one other guy in High School and dated him exclusively. So despite my enormous crush and profound admiration, I didn’t have enough guts to ever ask her out. So here I am in KFC actually talking to the girl who, for six years, I always wanted to talk to. Of course, I just babbled and I think I actually blushed and I got out of there before my heart-rate caused me a stroke.

A funny follow up to that experience is the fact that I ran into Quincy just 6 months ago. I was asked to give a demonstation on Family History Websites at a family history conference. Inbetween my classes I browsed the different booths in the auditorium. As I was looking of the scrapbooking display I noticed some pictures of Quincy from high school. I commented outloud something like not realizing that I said it out loud (which is a problem I sometimes have). A woman, who I didn’t realize was there standing behind the display table, came over and said “Oh, you know Quincy?” I egerly replied “Sure! I had the biggest crush on her all through junior high and high school — but I never had the guts to ask her out.” The woman smiled, then turned to her right and yelled “Hey Quincy! Come over here! This guy knows you!” Yes, much to my horror — AGAIN — Quincy came over and recognizing me without any problem, we talked for a while. I might never live that embarasment down.

Where is Cynda Lynn Craig Now?

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I met Cynda Craig at Model United Nations my senior year in high school. She was from North Ogden and part of some country delegation I can’t remember. Fact is, I don’t even remember what nation I was representing because by my senior year I knew to team up with Nigel Swaybe who would do all the work and I would just get an award at the end. So I spent my time passing notes and basically flirting.

Model United Nations is just one big psudo-international dating arena. What is better for international relations than “hooking up” with delegates from another country?

I don’t remember how we met, I think Nick Terry (another friend of mine) was talking with Cynda and her friend. So I started to talk to Cynda and had a really good time. I think I asked her for her phone number or something — I can’t really remember. I DO remember that it was the only time I ever sluffed work because I wanted to spend more time talking to her. I almost got fired.

So I started talking to Cynda on the phone and I even went to visited her at her home in North Ogden a few times. I eventually worked up enough courage to ask her to my school’s Spring Formal. I had never gone to a school dance, ever. So this was a big step for me but I really wanted to go with her. I didn’t get her answer right away as her own school dance was the same night as mine and someone from her own school had asked her. But I guess I won the lottery because she decided to go with me.

Now I was a total wreck because I had never been to a dance, let a alone a formal dance and I was very much out of my comfort zone. But I bought a corsage and coordinated the color with the color of her dress (which was peach). I then drove to Ogden and picked her up.

She was gorgeous. He mother had sewn her a beautiful dress, a ball gown really, and I was stunned. After the requisite photos, we headed back to Salt Lake.

I had a special evening planned that started with introducing Cynda to my mother (whom she had never met) then going to dinner at “The Steak Pit” there at Snowbird. After that, we would go to the dance (which was at the Utah Capitol building) followed by an ice-cream stop at Snellgroves then wrap up the evening. To help bolster my confidence in the whole event, I arranged to have dinner with my good friend, Nick Terry, and his date. In retrospect, this was a huge mistake.

Cynda was shy (so was I) but Nick and his date were definetly not. At dinner the conversation was quickly dominated by Nick and his date and some disparaging remarks were made. I think this was the beginning of the end. Cynda didn’t order anything to eat which totally threw me for a loop. I paniced and don’t remember what I did, but it was probably the wrong thing. To this day I don’t remember anything about dinner or anything else until the time we got to the dance.

When we arrived at the dance we got our picture taken and then I realized that I had absolutely no idea how to dance. Cynda, on the other had, was actually a dancer who had spent years in ballet and I’m guessing modern dance. It was like a bolt of lighting terror ripping through me paralyzing me from head to toe. I had to remind myself to breath.

Not knowing what to do, I suggested we walk around the building and just talk. It didn’t take long for that to wear off and I realized that Cynda really wanted to dance. Petrified beyond belief, I obliged for I think two songs. I then got nausia and asked to sit down. Things didn’t get better from there.

Eventually, after lots of akward and pregnant pauses of silence, we departed for Snellgroves with Nick and his date (who I believe was named Kathy).

Once there I had my usual, the Raspberry Hurricane, which made me fell a lot better. The girls excused themselves and went to the restroom. So Nick and I went to the little boys room. When we were in there Nick asked “what the hell is wrong with your date? She is like some kind of zombie or something.” I replied that I didn’t know what was going on, all the other times I had gone out with her or just hung out she was bubbly and fun. I really didn’t know what was going on. I did suspect, however, that she didn’t like being around Nick and Kathy so I was looking forward to getting away from them after the ice cream.

I think I said something like “I’m hoping she warmes up on the way home and we can spend some quality time together.” At least, that is what I ment to say. I’m not sure at all what came out of my mouth. Days later Nick told me that the girls heard every word we said in the men’s room. I’m sure I said something stuipd and rude and that it was taken the wrong way. But after I came out of the men’s room, things had definetly changed.

After the ice-cream I drove Cynda to her brother’s house in Salt Lake because it was late and we didn’t want to drive back to North Ogden (we had pre-arranged this before the date). We I pulled up at his house, Cynda said “OK, then! Bye!” and she got out of the car and went into the house. I think I ran after her and said something to her on the porch, but I don’t really recall because I was so stunned that we didn’t sit and talk in the car like we usually did.

After that night I never spoke to or heard from her again. I must have done something simply awful and unforgivable to warrant what happened. I still look back at the whole thing and get icky sick feelings about it.

One time, about 5 years ago, I finally got up enough courage to call and ask her what happened that night. I found her in Qwestdex.com under her own name and living in North Ogden. When I called the phone was answered by her room mate who asked if I was trying to light an old flame. I told her no, and then shared my sad tale of that fateful night. Cynda called back and left me a message at work but by that time I had totally chickened out and really didn’t want to find out what a terrible person I had been. So to this very day I still don’t know what happened to ruin my one and only dance.

Can Novell Come Back?

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Last week I read an article, I think it was in eWeek or mabye Infoworld, asking the question “Can Novell Come Back?” It is, of course, refering to Novell’s inability to recover from market dominance in the networking arena. Despite far superrior products for file and print as well as directory services, over Microsoft, Novell didn’t react to the growing marketing efforts that Microsoft released and they lost mind-share. When you loose mind-share, you loose market share.

Now Novell has positioned itself to become the world’s largest corporate distributer and contributer of LINUX. Their acquisition of German based SUSE for an operating system, and Ximian for a messaging suite, gives them a good start to really be near the front of the Open Source movement.

So the question is, can Novell come back? The answer is a resounding “Yes.” But I’m afraid this question has been asked many time again and the more relevant question should be: will Novell come back? That is a question much harder to answer.

If you try and answer that question based on Novell’s track record over the last decade, the future is grim indeed. Despite wonderful products that work, are scalable and just work, you would think they were almost guarenteed a come back. But somehow Novell is it’s own worst enemy and never seems to get anywhere in terms of making their products known. People who are familiar with their products love them, and continue to evangalize them. But no new IT people even consider them and when they do move into an environment where Novell products are deployed, they have an immediate bias against it because it is something they haven’t ever heard of.

Novell has a bad reputation of being a company on the way out. Apple had this same problem and somehow, against all reason, they managed to shake that reputation and now have a mind-share again. Can Novell ever do that? Shaking a bad reputation is hard to do, and takes years of actually working on it (just ask your local slut from high school). Novell just hasn’t done it. I’m not saying it’s impossible, and that they shouldn’t try, but history shows that they probably won’t.

But there is hope. I think that if Novell started advertising again but mainly emphasised SUSE and Ximian, they would get farther faster than if they emphasised Novell. What would really fix things up overnight is if IBM bought Novell. But despite counteless rumours over the years of exactly that, nothing has ever been pursued.

Novell does have two things going for it. First, they have very creative people who really do have vision. In my mind, Novell is synonomous with innovation and strategic vision. They are one of the few companies that truly guide the industry. Unfortunately, they don’t actually move the industry too. But other companies like IBM, Microsoft, CA, etc. follow and that’s where the money is. Again, Apple seems to have broken the mold and they are not only guiding the industry, they are moving it as well. (Now don’t start any flame wars that IBM doesn’t guide the market, because I think they do. I don’t think Microsoft does, however. Microsoft does not invent anything — they are only successful because they copy other innovations and let the Microsoft Marketing Machine take over).

I’m excited to see what happens to Novell. I hope they become a dominant industry leader. Again.

Where is Michael Palmer Now?

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Michael Palmer was for all intents and purposes my friend turned arch-nemesis in High School. And let me be frank — it was because I was an a**hole. Mike was a really smart (smarter than myself in my my opinion) but just didn’t seem to catch any breaks.

Now not many people can claim they had an arch-nemesis and that’s mostly because people are that immature. Arch-nemeses are hard to come by, I mean you either have to be a character in a book or you really have to work at it. And it’s a two-way street so they have to really work at it too. I’ll admit I’m probably responsible for the whole thing and I was definetly a jerk about the whole thing, but putting asside the emotional and psychological scaring, it’s kind of cool.

Mike never deserved it, of course, and I still consider him a friend above all else. Somewhere, out there, he probably secretly hates me and I deserve it.

About 10 years ago Mike’s little sister died and it had a very, very profound effect on me. She was in the sunday school class that I taught and she was delightful and very bright (just like Mike). Her passing I took quite personal, not only because I knew Mike so well and the rest of his family, I also had a personal relationship with his sister (allbeit just what a teacher has with a room full of little girls trying to talk about God). To this day when I think about her I feel remorse for her passing and couldn’t imagine a more horrible experience happening to any family.

A few years after high school I saw a disk copy program for the Atari 8-bit computers that bore the author’s name of Mike Palmer. Although I don’t know for sure, it was probably the Mike I knew. Mike and I had a love for computers and we both had Ataris and would sometimes huddle in his attic looking at new games and programs. The first time I ever saw a spreadsheet was in his attic and he explained what a spreadsheet was. I remember thinking “Man, Mike is the smartest kid I’ve ever known! I don’t even know what he’s talking about but it sounds cool!”

Mike’s dad was into computers too, and although I never met him, I somehow had the impression that his dad was some computer genious programming away at top-secret projects that most assuredly could tip the balance of power between the US and Russia (it was the cold-war era, remember?)

One time Mike’s dad made him a plexiglass disk holder that blew my mind. I think I openly drooled when he showed it to me. I could not comprehend anyone cool enough to make something that awesome. Mike gave it to me — I have no idea why — but I still have it to this very day although one of the sides came unglued. It’s in my basement with the rest of my Atari stuff just waiting for the day I can open an Atari museum.

Mike told me one time about a mysterious thing called “machine language” for programming. It was years before I understood what that ment. But he told me there was some special instruction you could put in your program that would tell the CPU to blow up. That so totally freaked me out I believed it even through college until I actually had to program in assembly language for a class and discovered that alas, there is no such OPcode — although Senator Hatch has proposed to congress that such a thing be made so the RIAA and MPAA can punish people who do not bow down to their insane madman-like intentions to rule the world.

I don’t really know where Mike is nowdays — probably working at Pixar as an animation or rendering programmer. You know, specializing in something utterly complex like “hair” or something. Maybe he has taken a more monastic route and digs his own clay to make pottery in the grand tradition of Raku. Who knows?

Where is Lisa Wayman Now?

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Do you ever wonder what happened to some people. People you knew in grade school, old friends you knew at summer camp, or old love interestes. Or maybe you are currious what happened to an old enemy — perhaps they married that guy with a hairy back and a truck just like they always thretened to.

One of the people I think about from time to time is Lisa Wayman. I went to grade school and perhaps even junior high and high school with Lisa, but mostly I remember her from Whittier Elementary school.

Lisa was my age and frequently in my class at school. She was the female version of myself and of course my arch-nemesis. That’s taking it a little extreme, but that’s the way we thought about people in elementary school. Lisa was every bit as smart as me (probably smarter) but she had more going for her — she was the cute girl. So of course, I always got in trouble and she was just “cute and adorable.” Now she probably never even knew I was in secret competition with her, she was most likely too mature to be that petty — but I wasn’t. And I know that from time to time she knew she had bested me because she would give me that smirk that says “I totally beat you.”

I remember one time there was a reading marathon at school (I think I was in first grade) and as long as you were reading books you got to stay in the library and skip class! And the person who read the most number of books got a surprise gift! I was a shoe-in! All would bow and tremble before my super reading powers!

So on the fatefull day of competition I brought my specially made pillow loviningly made by my mom (it had tastles on the corners) and I chose a spot in the room right next to Lisa so she would be sure to squirm in the residue of my overpowering reading prowess.

For the first few hours I dug in and read with such ferver and concentration you could have removed my spleen with a dull spoon and I wouldn’t have noticed. I remember after each book I would look at Lisa, hold the book for a moment just in front of her, then drop it as if I where throwing down the gauntlet! My victory was assured.

The next thing I know a teacher is telling me to get up and leave — I had been kicked out for not reading. The blasphey! The sheer audaicity of it! As I dejectedly picked up my pillow, head held low and ashamed, my eyes met with Lisa’s and she gave me that smirk. Oh living death I had been thwarted again!

I think one of the things that fuled my rivalry was that I secretly adored her. She was cute, smart, funny and popular — all the things I wasn’t.

In fourth grade I was invited to a Halloween costume party at her house. I remember just staring at the invitation for what seemed an eternity as I verified time and time again that it really was at Lisa’s house, it really was Lisa’s party and my name really was on the invitation. My heart soared! Nothing but the best costume would do! So I dressed up as Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica, a science fiction rebel who got all the girls on the show — yes, it was truly a character I could associate with.

When the hour of the party arrived I confidently marched up to her house and rang the bell. The door opened and the most wonderful party was in full swing. However, my hart sank as I realized that everyone in my whole class was there, and even some people from other classes. I hadn’t been invited by Lisa at all, I had been invited simply because I was part of the class. The rest of the party I tired to have a good time but my heart just wasn’t in it. I think Lisa dressed up as a princess but I really don’t remember because I couldn’t bear to look at her. All I could think about was that I hadn’t really been invited at all and I felt like the ugly and unpopular kid that gets invited because a parent insisted that no one be left out.

From time to time I still have dreams with Lisa in them. Mostly they are dreams where I want something really bad (like a cool job as an astronaught or the candidate to recieve experimental bionic limbs) and she beats me out or just denies the application.

I’ve often wondered what corporation she is now CEO of, or what nation of starving children she is working tirelessly to save. I really dont know. Maybe I don’t really want to know. Maybe it’s better that I don’t find out. (Now I’m confusing myself!)

If anyone knows what happened to Lisa Wayman, please let me know.

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